It’s that time of year and many businesses should be having their office Christmas Party over the next week or so. With the news that cases of the omicron variant of the COVID seem to be on the rise, a survey of 2,000 office workers, commissioned by Covid testing firm Prenetics, found more than half of UK workplaces have decided not to hold a Christmas office party this year.

But if your planned Christmas Party does go ahead, alongside the COVID related precautions you need to consider, there are also other potential issues to consider from an HR point of view, especially as work staff parties are viewed as an extension of the workplace. Bad behaviour resulting from drinking too much alcohol, various religious viewpoints and inappropriate gifts can cause a real headache for businesses if not thought about beforehand!

Our Top Tips

  • Keep it simple – plan an event that is easy to manage and keep control of.
  • Don’t make staff feel that it’s compulsory to come along to the party. Non-Christian employees may not feel it’s appropriate for them to attend.
  • Don’t forget to invite any members of staff that are on maternity/paternity leave and anyone who is working as a temp or on a contract basis.
  • Make sure your staff know that normal rules apply to how they conduct themselves even though they are not at their normal place of work. Posting inappropriate photos or comments on Social Media isn’t acceptable! Equally, as an employer, you are still responsible for your staff at the event and still have a duty of care.
  • Alcohol is bound to be involved, so remind staff that if they are drinking they need to arrange transport home and that if they have work the next day you expect them to be in the office as normal. If you do have any employees that are under 18 you also need to consider the location of your venue! Free bars aren’t a great idea, as alcohol can fuel fights and cause unwanted sexual advances – so set a limit as to when the free stuff ends! If you do get someone who becomes very drunk it’s your responsibility to get them home!
  • Check what you are able to spend on presents for your staff as high value gifts are tax deductible for both you and your employees! Employers can spend up to £150 per head on staff events without it being treated as a taxable perk.

Saying all of that, try and use the event to boost morale and make sure your staff know that you appreciate them – this time of year is a great time to let your team have a bit of fun and relax with their colleagues.

For more hep and advice call us on 01722 334433